Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Trump Effect Again: Chants of "Trump" to Taunt Racially-Diverse Iowa High School Basketball Team


What I have termed previously as the "Trump Effect" continues in popular culture.  Take this story (and here), for example. 

The last name of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently has been turned into a racial insult for some people. As readers of this blog are well aware, Trump has spoken bluntly about the need to deport Mexican immigrants and has pledged to extend the wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

High school students in Des Moines, Iowa, this week chanted "Trump! Trump!" after a basketball game. The chanters were from Dallas Center-Grimes High, which has a predominantly white student body. Their school's team had just lost to Perry High School, which has a more diverse student population (and many Latinos).

Perry student Kevin Lopez in a letter to the Perry Chief newspaper that the billionaire's name has been chanted at the team three other times this season.  Here is the letter:

Dear Editor,

This is a letter for the community of Perry. It is no secret that our great town is incredibly diverse, the student body and staff at Perry High School see this as an advantage and we come together as a town and celebrate our diversity. But, recently there has been a new chanting trend uprising at high school basketball games directed at us. Perry is competitive and we are known for being loud! We love a student section that can interact with us and make the atmosphere full of energy and keep the ambiance fun. We in the student body and community members who cheer on the Perry basketball team have been exposed to this new derogatory chant, “Trump.” It is a chant said to intimidate and discriminate our Latino/Hispanic students and it is a chant that is fueled by racism. Monday night at the boys district game against DC-G in Adel, was the fourth instance this chant was heard. Monday night however was the first time we were exposed to such racism on social media, just to show how big of an issue this is actually becoming. We at Perry High School acknowledge and are aware of the fact that people are entitled to their own political views and that they are to be respected, but when a name is chanted in a racial manner and used to intimidate us is when the line is drawn. Perry has been a racial target for many towns for a long time now, and now I am tackling this problem. I urge that you stay alert to chants like “Trump” or “Mini-Mexico” and that you please take action. We know racism is alive and well, but we refuse to undergo discrimination at Iowa high school athletic events. My name is Kevin Lopez, I respect the game and believe in The Bluejay Way, to be LOUD, be PROUD, and last but most certainly not least, be POSITIVE.

Thank you, from the Perry Student Body. Go Bluejays.

Kevin Lopez


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